Berlin clubs are closed for the fifth month, but the party continues illegally. Last weekend dancing at one of the parks came more than 3,000 people. Night illegal raves in the German capital – in a report DW.
Max (name changed at the request of the hero) checks the geolocation on Google Maps. “The party needs to be somewhere near,” he says, moving deep into the city Park on the North-West of Berlin. On the clock two nights. Lights in the Park turned off. Max highlights the way a flashlight, periodically glancing at a smartphone screen – it flashes the box with the desired location.
Rave on GPS coordinates
If not pandemic, in this hot July night Max, most likely, would be standing in line at the entrance to one of the Berlin clubs. “Sisyphos”, “Trezor”, “Watergate”, “Kater Blau”, the legendary Berghain: 28-year-old Max is a frequent guest at Berlin’s techno parties. So it relieves the stress after the working week. Monday through Friday he’s a Manager at a technology company.
Because of coronavirus in the clubs Max hasn’t been the fifth month that their doors are closed. German politicians and virologists do not rule out the risk of the second wave of the epidemic, therefore, no question of resuming the work of the clubs is not. Many of them occupy the old buildings of factories space with poor ventilation and no Windows. With such conditions during a pandemic Metropolitan clubs will be idle for a long time. But this does not mean that techno parties in Berlin came to an end. They just changed the format. Now the raves are classified as “secret” – in parks, forests, and abandoned buildings throughout the city.
One of these parties just looking for Max. “A friend with whom we often hang out together, invited me to the Telegram group, which publishes information on raves,” says Max, flipping through the messages in the chat. He turns from the path and into the bushes among which the earth is seen svejeprokipachenna track. Somewhere from afar starts to sound electronic music: Max nods and picks up his pace. The music becomes louder.
On the ground is a column, around which dancing not more than ten people. In the dark flashing lights, they move to the road leading from the Park to the city. Max upset voice reads the messages in the chat. “That was the police,” writes a lady named Natalie. Max is a member of several similar groups in the Telegram, which is accessible by invitation only. The number of participants varies from 50 to a thousand people. In the largest group Max counted at least five addresses for the parties for the evening.
About illegal raves he found out two months ago. Since was four. One party took place in the woods and lasted almost a day. “Hanging out in the open air: to take a NAP right on the grass nearby,” continued the young man. It attracts and secrecy: “All those private chats, messages with GPS coordinates and “hunting” for raves – it sounds cool.”
Hunting for the raves
Originally he was going to another party, but did not have time to get on the guest list – all tickets quickly sold out. The organizer limited the number of people, so as not to attract unnecessary attention of the police. The group consisted of about 40 people. A ticket for the party cost 10 euros.
The exact location of the participants received a few hours before. It is known that the location is a forest in a half-hour drive from Berlin. Then walk through the woods just over a kilometer. For guests of the organizer, under the name Gigi has posted in the group Bulletin: “Be invisible. If you arrive by car, do not Park cars in one place the forest do not attract attention. Move through the forest in small groups”.
For night patrol party gathered a group of volunteers: it is “techno-scout”, on duty in shifts in kilometer from “dancing”. “If the cops show up, volunteers will call to the organizers and DJ. We turn the music down and the lights to remain unnoticed: to get to most locations by car is impossible, we will have time to react fast enough, while the police will have to move on foot forest,” says Max. In the memo, the organizers did not forget about ecology: “the Earth, where the party is very dry. Be careful with cigarette butts, do not throw them on the ground.”
Hunting raves for max continues: “Well, apparently, have yet to go to Hasenheide, but this is mainstream”. The eponymous Park is located in the neukölln district, on the South-East of Berlin. Spontaneous outdoor parties held here always, and with the closing of the clubs, the place has become a real center of attraction for illegal raves.
As for the secret party responds Berlin police and virologists
The Berlin police to treat them with restraint. Meeting with friends and dancing in the fresh air is officially permitted. And here is a mass event with the number of participants over a thousand people – no. The underground party was actually in a gray area. In parks and forests until no one is caught and not arrested. If the police think that people cross the line, with participants conduct educational conversations, and the party stopped. In the worst case can issue a fine.
In an interview with DW in Berlin police said: “We are aware that parties are a part of life. Our basic approach is not a punishment, and cooperation. First of all, we try to approach and explain to the participants that they create a risk.”
This party can be really dangerous. According to the virologist, the Professor of the University of Hamburg Jonas Schmidt-Chanasit (Jonas Schmidt-Chanasit), when an infected person sings or shouts that it is easy to imagine the party, he allocates even more intensely, droplets of aerosol, through which extends the coronavirus. The result: other people nearby inhale these droplets and become infected.
According to the Professor, the defense in this case, social distance, regardless of whether a mass event indoors or outdoors. If this is not possible – people need to be in protective masks. Otherwise, such parties are exposed to risks of an outbreak of disease, if the participants will be the so-called superastronomical.
Meanwhile, this kind of party in Berlin is gaining momentum.
Park Hasenheide: dancing till the morning
The clock for three nights. Park Hasenheide like a big music festival under the open sky: here, not only the techno-Park is formally divided into several zones. From behind some bushes, thundering hits of the 90s, others modern pop music.
Max should be in the direction of techno sounds. As a DJ stand here a wooden trailer from the bike. The same set of columns, decorated with colorful lanterns. People move around them in the dance. In the crowd of about 70 people protective masks and social distance seem to be things from a parallel reality. “We want to dance, it’s just a party. Summer is also because, in the end. We do not represent any threat, we are tired of a pandemic”, – assured dancing. Max has a similar position, although he still tries to stay away from the crowd in the distance.
To bring this party out of the gray zone, the capital Club Commission (Clubcommission Berlin), representing more than 200 clubs in the city, calls on the authorities of Berlin as quickly as possible to legalize the party outdoors. The Commission has compiled a list of outdoor venues throughout Berlin, which can be tailored to events for up to 200 people. “We discussed our idea with different parts of the city. This will help to control such activities, to create conditions for hygiene, otherwise people will continue to come illegally, while warm outside,” he assured DW leichsenring of Lutz (Lutz Leichsenring) of the Club fee.
The situation in Hasenheide consistent with what he said. Six o’clock in the morning. Dancing in Hasenheide don’t stop the music heard throughout the Park, and the total number of participants exceeded one hundred. Begins to dawn – and to the Park pulled three police cars. “Please leave the territory. You pose a threat to the spread of the virus, move aside, please,” the Berlin police urges the audience to the exit. No one is arrested, the police politely asking people to leave the Park. Dancing party turn, speakers are loaded into trailers from bikes, people slowly moving towards the exit of the Park.
Max calls a taxi and goes home to sleep. His phone vibrates impatiently: Telegram-channel already have a list of raves for the next few days. How late will read the police reports, the night from 25 to 26 July at a party in only one Hasenheide was attended by over 3,000 people.